Yet Another Pre-Employment Drug Screen Thread

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    I apologize for contributing to the seemingly endless amount of threads that focus on drug test concerns. I would have voiced my concerns elsewhere if I knew it would not be lost in the vast sea of "I took a ----- & I have to pee in a cup tomorrow. What do I do?"I graduated nursing school in May, passed the NCLEX in June, & had an interview for a Pediatric RN position this past Monday. The day of my interview, things were perfectly normal, despite my nervousness about making a good first impression. I woke up, took my medicine, & started getting ready for the big day. Singing songs by Alanis Morissette at the top of my lungs proved to be a great distraction on my way to the hospital...
    I arrived on the unit 30 minutes early (which was way too early, considering the department director showed up 15 minutes late). By the time the interviewer arrived, I had made friends with the RNs & already made myself at home in the nurses station...
    While walking to his office, I quickly prepared myself mentally for the typical nursing interview questions. My nerves were surprisingly subtle to be interviewing for my dream job. I knew I was prepared so I put on my biggest smile, turned up the confidence, & rocked it...
    The unit director offered me the job (aka my dream job). I am not an idiot, so I happily accepted his offer. Next, we discussed position details, orientation, protocol, blah blah blah. And out of nowhere... SLAP! I am unexpectedly & very rudely thrown out of my dream job induced bliss. Did he just say what I think he said?
    I am paralyzed with fear as the realization sinks in. "Would you be willing to perform the drug screen today?" I am sure we all know what the appropriate response to this question should be. Everyone has the right to refuse a drug test. The only problem with saying "no" is that the employer withdraws their job offer almost 100% of the time. Like I said, I'm not an idiot, so of course I agreed to take the drug screen...
    Except I am sort of an idiot... A huge, monumental, gigantic idiot.
    Rewind to 5:30 AM when I am on the verge of throwing my alarm clock across the room (mornings & I are sworn enemies; my soul is with night shift). After stretching & mumbling angry unintelligible words for longer than is necessary, what is my first action? Something that is so completely routine that it has become an impulse rather than a choice? It's beyond the term "habitual." It has become natural. Routine: Abruptly awake from my dreamy dream job dream, get furious at the alarm, contemplate a method to destroy the source of the noise, press snooze & try to catch up where my dream left off (it's useless), whine/moan/complain, force myself out of bed, take my Adderall. PAUSE! And there it is, the source of all my problems. This tiny little detail that is so well rehearsed, it's completely forgettable. The interviewer keeps talking & I have no idea what he is saying because I am literally sick. I can barely breathe past the lump in my throat. My heart fell to my feet & the butterflies in my belly turned to razor blades. Kenny Chesney's song, "There Goes My Life," set the perfect stage for a murder/suicide of all my dream job opportunities.
    I arrived at the Occupational Health Center & it wasn't long until I was handing over a cup of my urine to some stranger. Potentially handing over the single thing that could demolish my every hope of having a career with that facility. There was nothing I could do about it except cringe & self-loathe as I watch it being sealed & transferred. The specimen collecting technician never asked about or instructed me to write down a list of my current prescription(s) and/or over-the-counter medication. Of course, it would not have mattered anyway because I did not have the proper paperwork to prove that I most certainly did NOT meet a dealer down a discrete dark alley for an illegal exchange. I initialed the tubes of my demise & made a B-line for a more secure area that allows anxiety/panic attacks to unravel (which, in this case, was my car)...
    I had prepared myself for interview questions, answers, & a tour of the unit... but the possibility that I MAY be sent for a drug screen the very same day never even crossed my mind at all. Frankly, neither did the fact that I would be offered the job even before the interview was complete. I couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom. I still can't shake it off. I guess I should have known that everything was too good to be true.
    So here I am now... It's Wednesday, 2 days after the best/worst day of my life. Obviously the results of the 10 panel drug test are not in yet because I was called in by HR yesterday to consent for a background check & to validate my RN license... just to make sure that I am not a crazy psycho going around claiming to be a nurse. It's clear that I am a tad bit concerned & want nothing more than to have this issue magically resolved. However, I refuse to make the mistake of confiding in Human Resources or my supervisor about my issue. What I am prescribed is between me & my physician & is considered private medical records. Plus, I would not want my employer to judge or think any less of me based on what I am prescribed. Above all, I would not want to risk withdrawal of an amazing job offer.
    Apparently the old-fashioned "Make a list of all the prescription medications you are taking" is ancient history. No more hauling Ziplock bags of medicine around to prove your legitimate innocence, letting random people invade your privacy, or testing your legal rights. Instead, the techs collecting specimens are no longer allowed to discuss medications with the urine donor, just as we are not required to release our private information to the techs. This method greatly reduces the amount of HIPAA violations, invasions of privacy, & the hassle of formal proof of prescriptions. If the drug screen results in a positive (fail), a Medical Review Officer (MRO) contacts the donor to alert them of the test results & to inquire about any prescribed medications. When all the correct information is gathered & approved (Dr. Name, proof of prescription, name of the pharmacy, etc.), the MRO will declare the drug screen results as negative (pass) & HR will be notified.
    I understand why the process has changed & I personally approve of the new drug screen regimen but this can't-eat-can't-sleep-gut-wrenching-gag-reflex-what-is-taking-so-long-feeling has GOT to stop. My main concern is that I fail the drug screen (testing positive for amphetamine [Adderall]) & the MRO alerts HR of a fail without even contacting me. This possibility keeps playing over & over in my mind. The suspense is killing me!
    Well, this leaves us with 1 more thread to add to the enormous amount of drug testing threads on allnurses. I had to vent somewhere to people who know exactly what I am going through. ...or else I would lose my sanity. I know it has only been 2 days since the test, but It feels like 2 million years. Hey, I never claimed to have patience as a virtue! Feel free to leave thoughts, opinions, or messages of encouragement. Scolding me is pointless because what's done is done & there is no going back. Plus, I am FULLY aware that I made a mistake. It slipped my mind to skip my meds for a few days to ensure that I would most definitely clear the drug test. I have my legitimate prescription handy for a long-awaited call from the MRO. All I can do is pray they do their job by contacting me before my employer.
    Last edit by YouSmellLikeCDiff on Oct 10, '12
    lauralala likes this.
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  3. 48 Comments so far...

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    First, this post is way too long and detailed...we don't need a per minute play by play of your life...sorry if that sounds rude. Not my intention. Second, why does it matter? If you have a perscription, just show them if they ask. Or why didn't you clarify your prescription before the test and offer to bring proof in at a later time? If you aren't doing anything illegal, then why are you worried?
    klone, ashleyisawesome, KelRN215, and 4 others like this.
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    Oh, and because it was so long and detailed, I only skimmed through it. My apologies if you explained all this.
    ashleyisawesome likes this.
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    So....you were offered a job, contingent on drug screen & background check. And you have a legal Rx for Adderal. At this point, they either hire you, or withdraw the offer. If they withdraw due to the drug screen, you then say, "I have a prescription.". Don't really see what the issue is.
    KelRN215 and armygirlabn like this.
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    Quote from vintageandrea
    First, this post is way too long and detailed...we don't need a per minute play by play of your life...sorry if that sounds rude. Not my intention. Second, why does it matter? If you have a perscription, just show them if they ask. Or why didn't you clarify your prescription before the test and offer to bring proof in at a later time? If you aren't doing anything illegal, then why are you worried?
    I'm sorry that my post is so long. This is my first post on allnurses so I am a little unfamiliar to what is/is not considered acceptable. As far as detail goes, I was unaware that I was giving a "per minute play by play" of my situation. My goal was to describe what I was going through. Yes, I have a prescription but, like I said above, no one ever asked to see it. Again, like I said, medications are no longer allowed to be discussed before the test due to HIPAA laws (at least in my state). Finally, I never did anything illegal. I am just afraid the results of the drug screen will be sent to HR without clarifying with me first, which would mean that I lost the job and my chances of working at this hospital.
  8. 0
    Quote from MrChicagoRN
    So....you were offered a job, contingent on drug screen & background check. And you have a legal Rx for Adderal. At this point, they either hire you, or withdraw the offer. If they withdraw due to the drug screen, you then say, "I have a prescription.". Don't really see what the issue is.
    I have the job pending the background check and drug screen. I just finished school, so this entire hiring process is new to me. All of my previous drug screens required clarifying your medications before the test. At least this method provided some comfort knowing they knew what to expect on the results. Prescriptions are now cleared after the test. I've read that a MRO will contact you with the results and clear your name with HR.. But I've also read about situations when there was no call from a MRO but a withdraw of the job offer due to failing the drug screen. I've also read about failing a test even with proof of prescriptions. This is where my issue lies. I'm afraid this could happen to me.
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    I understand why you are freaking out, but the only thing you can do is wait. You've got a prescription. If it weren't for that you would be totally screwed. As far as your post is concerned, all I will say is that if they ask you any questions regarding your Adderal, just keep to as few words as possible. I only say that because when I'm really nervous I tend to turn into a motor-mouth. I inherited the tendency from my mother - sometimes a little voice will whisper inside telling myself shut the hell up shut the hell up

    Find some music that makes you feel calm and peaceful - this is just one of those deals where time has to pass before you will have the opportunity to have any effect on outside events. Hoping it all turns out the best for you!
    catebsn25 likes this.
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    I rather enjoyed reading your post and the play by play...i personally like stories with all the details. You cannot please everyone and there is always the option NOT to read and/or respond. I would not worry about the drug screen..you have a valid prescription. I am sick of this discrimination against healthcare workers,including nurses..are you not allowed to have a legitimate medical condition and not to seek and have the available treatment , including the safe use of medications. Do you know for a fact that this drug is on the screen or not?
    fashionistaRN, Anoetos, NurseMoi, and 9 others like this.
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    Quote from iluvivt
    I rather enjoyed reading your post and the play by play...i personally like stories with all the details. You cannot please everyone and there is always the option NOT to read and/or respond. I would not worry about the drug screen..you have a valid prescription. I am sick of this discrimination against healthcare workers,including nurses..are you not allowed to have a legitimate medical condition and not to seek and have the available treatment , including the safe use of medications. Do you know for a fact that this drug is on the screen or not?
    Thank you for the kind words! I am not 100% sure if the test screens for this drug. I do know that it was a 10 panel test and Google suggests that this drug is definitely screened. It's hard not to worry. This is my first potential nursing job so I am hyperaware of potential threats to my offer. This waiting game is killing me!
    lauralala, joanna73, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from nursel56
    I understand why you are freaking out, but the only thing you can do is wait. You've got a prescription. If it weren't for that you would be totally screwed. As far as your post is concerned, all I will say is that if they ask you any questions regarding your Adderal, just keep to as few words as possible. I only say that because when I'm really nervous I tend to turn into a motor-mouth. I inherited the tendency from my mother - sometimes a little voice will whisper inside telling myself shut the hell up shut the hell up

    Find some music that makes you feel calm and peaceful - this is just one of those deals where time has to pass before you will have the opportunity to have any effect on outside events. Hoping it all turns out the best for you!
    This just made me smile!
    You're right. There is nothing I can do but wait it out. I'm armed with a prescription should things go wrong. But waiting is the WORST, especially since this will be my first job as a nurse. Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully I will know something soon!
    catebsn25, joanna73, Esme12, and 1 other like this.


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